International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women and also a day that is a call to action to push forward women’s equality. VENTUREPARK LABS is a proudly women-founded company and we believe in celebrating women not just today, but every day. That being said, IWD marks an important opportunity on the state of inequality and focuses on the action that needs to be made.
This year, the global campaign is #EmbraceEquity. This theme is an ongoing effort to raise awareness around “Why equal opportunities are no longer enough.”
To commemorate the Women’s March, we had an opportunity to interview our Program Manager, Marlis Bens, who leads our online coaching program “Concept to Market Sprint” for early-stage entrepreneurs to help them grow their businesses. She shares a valuable perspective and a piece of advice to improve gender equity in the workplace.
What is your role in Venturepark Labs?
My role is to lead the Concept to Market Sprint Program. It is an exclusive program for early-stage entrepreneurs that has online live interactive classes with mini projects and private coaching sessions.
What do you love the most about your role in Venturepark Labs?
I am incredibly fortunate to connect daily with aspiring food and beverage entrepreneurs who have a big dream and have welcomed me to be part of their journey.
How does it feel like to be a woman in the industry?
As I reflect on the many teams I have been part of over the years in a wide range of settings, I see a theme emerge of strength and wisdom among the women I have been fortunate to work with.
As this year’s theme for International Women’s Day is focusing on embracing equity in technology and innovation, what does #EmbraceEquity mean to you?
To me, #EmbraceEquity in the industry is about reflecting on our own perceptions and assumptions that we may have about others and being open to change. And also accepting that, everyone doesn’t start from the same level on the playing field. So, if we embrace and work towards equity, it means working towards each individual getting the support and resources that they need to succeed, which might be different than what someone else needs.
What’s the most valuable advice you can pass on to anyone, especially women trying to establish their careers or anyone striving for gender equity?
As a woman, we are all able to improve gender equity, we own the control to do that. Therefore, it is very important for women to support each other in the workplace and speak up when they see an opportunity to make the environment better and improve gender equity, no matter how small it may seem.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
International Women’s Day encourages me to pause and think about what I personally can do to support gender equity in my workplace, as a mom of 2 sons and a daughter, and in my community.